Appointment of acting DVC and two deans

09 January 2019 | From the Acting VC

Dear colleagues and students

Following a Council meeting held on 8 December 2018, three executive appointments have been approved. I am delighted to announce that Professor Kevin Naidoo has been appointed as the acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC) for Research and Internationalisation; Professor Danwood Chirwa is the incoming Dean of the Faculty of Law; and Professor Maano Ramutsindela will take over as the Dean of the Faculty of Science.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Internationalisation

Professor Kevin Naidoo has been appointed acting DVC for Research and Internationalisation for the period from 1 January to 30 March 2019. He takes over from Professor Michael Kyobe, who has been serving diligently while acting in this role since 1 July 2018. We thank Professor Kyobe for the contribution he has made over the past five months. 

Professor Naidoo was formerly the director of the Scientific Computing Research Unit in the Chemistry Department. He also holds the Department of Science and Technology / National Research Foundation (NRF) South African Research Chair in Scientific Computing. 

He obtained his BSc honours and master’s degrees at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 1987 and 1989 respectively, and his PhD from the University of Michigan in the USA in 1994. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University, USA, working in computational chemical glycobiology. Thereafter, he joined the Faculty of Science at UCT as a computational scientist based in the field of chemistry.

Professor Naidoo’s research develops informatics and computer-modelling techniques to interrogate data and simulate complex molecular processes in disease. Some of his latest work found that the gene expression pattern of patient tissues can be used to accurately classify cancer types, which can be used for accurate early diagnosis and targeted treatment.

Dean of the Faculty of Law

Professor Danwood Chirwa has been appointed as the new Dean of the Faculty of Law with effect from 1 January 2019. He takes the reins from Professor Hugh Corder, who has been acting in this position. We are grateful to Professor Corder for the role he has played in steering the faculty on an acting basis.

Professor Chirwa was the Deputy Dean for Postgraduate Studies in the faculty. He holds a PhD from the University of the Western Cape, an LLM from the University of Pretoria, and an LLB from the University of Malawi.

Professor Chirwa, who joined UCT in 2004 as a lecturer in commercial law, brings a wealth of institutional knowledge and experience. He has held various leadership positions within the law faculty, including acting dean in 2014 and head of the Department of Public Law from 2009 to 2014, and in 2018. Rated B3 by the NRF, Professor Chirwa is an accomplished scholar and researcher who has published widely in international and local journals and in books edited by leading international scholars. From September 2014 to March 2015 he was a visiting fellow at the Centre of African Studies, Cambridge University.

Currently a member of the board of trustees of the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, he has worked in various capacities with a wide range of non-governmental organisations in Africa and beyond. These include Human Rights Advocates (USA), the Open Democracy and Advice Centre (South Africa), Resources Aimed at the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (South Africa), the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa, Rights and Democracy (Canada), Community Law Centre (South Africa), African Child Policy Forum (Ethiopia), International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (USA) and the Human Rights Trust of Southern African (Zimbabwe). In 2007/8 he served as secretary-general of the African Network of Constitutional Lawyers.

Dean of the Faculty of Science

Professor Maano Ramutsindela, Deputy Dean of Operations and Professor in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, has been appointed as the new Dean of the Faculty of Science. He will take up his position on 1 March 2019. He will succeed Professor Susan Bourne, who has been the interim dean since 1 January 2018. We express our appreciation to Professor Bourne for serving the faculty during this period.

Professor Ramutsindela has served the science faculty in critical committees such as the Ad Hominem Committee, Committee of Assessors and the Executive Committee. He chaired the Faculty of Science Transformation Advisory Committee and served as an elected member of the UCT Council and the Senate Executive Committee. As a member of the Senate Committee of 12, he chaired and participated in committees that handled conflicts. He represented UCT in the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) and is the founding co-chair of the WUN Global Africa Group.

Having obtained his PhD in Geography from the Royal Holloway, University of London, Professor Ramutsindela has gone on to receive the NRF President Award (currently known as the NRF Prestigious Award), the International Visitor Award of the African Studies Association in the USA, an appointment as Fellow of the Society of South African Geographers, and the NRF Award for the Transformation of the Science Cohort. He is an elected member of the Academy of Science of South Africa.

I wish the three newest members of the UCT executive all the best and have no doubt they will add immense value to this institution in their roles.


Professor Loretta Feris

Acting Vice-Chancellor

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